Just as with used vehicles, there are definite benefits to purchasing pre-owned agricultural and farm equipment. First and foremost, if you’re looking to add some new iron to your arsenal price is always a consideration. That being said, there are some other aspects you should definitely take into consideration when looking at used equipment at farm auctions.
According to Greg Peterson, Farm Journal Media’s used-equipment expert, farm auctions often have some of the highest prices on the market. Because of that, it’s important to seek out and compare prices in other arenas – consignments, dealer and online auctions for example. As Peterson points out, saving 3-5% on machinery priced at $300,000 or more can be a significant savings.
Read the Fine Print
From a buyer’s perspective, be sure to pay close attention to the descriptions offered by the seller or auction house. If anything seems amiss don’t be afraid to call the seller or auction house and see if they’re able to fill in the blanks. Also be sure to find out what guarantees or warranties may be attached to the equipment or if it’s being sold in ‘as is’ condition.
Inspect the Goods
Inspections can be the key when it comes to buying any used equipment. As construction and agriculture equipment can really take a beating – especially if it isn’t well maintained – a thorough pre-inspection by a certified farm equipment mechanic can be the difference between a great buy and a lemon. While the vast majority of live farm equipment auctions will start-up and put the item into action before beginning bidding, it is not uncommon at all for items to be sold with no guarantees as to condition and operation. Ritchie Bros. has a great checklist of what you should inspect with tractors specifically.
Learn the Language
Auctions and auctioneers have a language all their own. Do you know the difference between an absolute auction and an American auction? How about absentee bids and proxy bids? Be sure to familiarize yourself with any unfamiliar terms and check out this list of auction terms and definitions for a crash course in auction terminology.
Maintain Your Equipment
This may seem like a no-brainer, but performing regular maintenance and keeping your machinery in good mechanical and aesthetic condition can greatly affect the resale value. While individual preferences will vary from buyer to buyer, well maintained and cared for machinery will always fetch a more pleasing price for the seller once it hits the auction block.
Protect Your Investment
If you’re purchasing equipment outside of an auction setting, be sure you take steps to protect your investment – especially if you’re buying/selling with an unfamiliar second party or over long distances. In those instances, escrow services can be a great protection for both the buyer and seller to guarantee both funds and delivery of the equipment.